Joint Security Area
North Korean (C) and South Korean soldiers (L and R) stand guard at the Joint Security Area at the truce village of Panmunjom in the demilitarized zone in Paju. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

The United Nations announced an investigation would be launched into an incident, which involved a North Korean soldier being shot at multiple times while defecting to South Korea on Monday.

The soldier, who was shot at by North Korean military, was said to be in a critical condition after undergoing several surgical procedures.

“Until this morning, we heard he had no consciousness and was unable to breathe on his own but his life can be saved,” Suh Wook, chief director of operations at South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff was quoted as saying by Reuters .

According to a statement by United Nations Command, the multinational military force that was established to support South Korea during and after the Korean War, an investigation into the incident was being conducted.

It added in the statement reported by Reuters the injured soldier hid behind a South Korean structure within the Joint Security Area (JSA) inside the demilitarized zone (DMZ) between the two countries.

He was then rescued by South Korean and United States’ soldiers at the border after being shot at by a number of North Korean soldiers. This is reportedly the first time a North Korean national tried to leave the country via the JSA.

The United Nations Command Military Armistice Commission — which was established at the end of the Korean War to supervise the Korean Armistice Agreement — said it had informed the North Korean military the soldier was being treated for its wounds.

Suh added the South had also informed the North on Monday about the soldier, using loudspeakers on the border.

Meanwhile South Korea's defense minister Song Young-moo said it was the first time North Korean soldiers had shot towards the South's side of the JSA. This also prompted complaints from lawmakers in the country, who said the South should have returned fire.

The BBC cited South Korea’s Yonhap news agency which reported some even questioned whether this meant North Korea had violated the terms of the armistice agreement between the two sides.

In the ceasefire announced between the countries in 1953 after the Korean War, both sides pledged not to "execute any hostile act within, from, or against the demilitarized zone", or enter areas under control of the other, the BBC said. However, North Korean army in 2013 declared the armistice agreement invalid.

In a separate incident on the same day the soldier defected, a U.S. citizen from Louisiana was arrested after he tried to enter North Korea on Monday, BBC reported. Yonhap reported the unnamed 58-year-old crossed the Civilian Control Line, which marked an extra buffer zone beneath the DMZ for political purposes. An investigation was launched into the incident by North Korea.

Addressing the National Assembly in Seoul on Wednesday, Trump called Kim Jong-un a “tyrant.” North Korea’s Foreign Ministry responded to his speech saying: “The reckless remarks by a dotard like Trump can never frighten us or put a stop to our advance.”

Trump reiterated by calling Kim Jong-un "short and fat” on Twitter.

In a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, North Korean UN Ambassador Ja Song Nam further blamed the U.S. for causing the “worst ever situation” between the two countries, Reuters reported Monday. The letter also complained about joint military exercises by the U.S. and South Korea — due to finish Tuesday — because the former’s nuclear war equipment had been deployed ready to strike.

Nam added the U.S. was “running amok for war exercises by introducing nuclear war equipment in and around the Korean Peninsula.”